At least two of Derby’s seven senior contracted players are taking legal advice over a labor law that could allow them to tear up their contracts when the club is sold.
Club administrators are trying to find new buyers following the withdrawal of Chris Kirchner from the process last week.
With former owner Mel Morris retaining ownership of Rams’ Pride Park stadium, Derby’s most important asset is its squad of players.
However, with manager Wayne Rooney unable to offer players contracts without English Football League approval while the club remains in administration, it is unlikely there will be many senior players for the start of the season. pre-season training on Monday.
Only five first-team players – Krystian Bielik, Max Bird, Jason Knight, Louie Sibley and Jack Stretton – have contracts for next season, while two other players have options on existing deals with the club.
And even those who are present might not stay long.
If Derby survives, it will be as a new company, as it is the only way to avoid paying full liability to non-football creditors.
Under employment law, when the business is sold to the new company, the position will be governed by legislation known as “Transfer of Business” (Employment Protection) (TUPE).
Ordinarily under TUPE, employees on the transfer date are automatically transferred to the new company. But they also have the right to be informed beforehand of the transfer and to object to becoming an employee, which would lead to the termination of their contract at the time of the transfer.
This legislation was used by a number of Glasgow Rangers players to leave the Scottish team when they were liquidated in 2012.
While the administrators remain confident that Derby will not be liquidated, which in itself would end the players’ contracts, it is understood that some of the remaining players are unhappy with the position they have found themselves in and are taking legal advice. on their rights.
The EFL publish their 2022-23 fixture list on Thursday, with Derby’s League One campaign due to start on July 30.
After a long delay Derby have confirmed they will play four pre-season friendlies in July.
They are set to host German club Hertha Berlin on July 16 and Premier League side Leicester City on July 23 at Pride Park. Their pre-season also includes trips to Bradford City on July 9 and Stevenage 10 days later.